improve your VoC program
June 12, 2019

10 more all too common mistakes and how to improve your VoC program

By Annette Franz

Continuing our series to help improve your Voc program, here are 10 more mistakes to avoid.

After the popularity of her first post in this series, I’m delighted to welcome guest blogger Annette Franz to share 10 more tips. As I mentioned before, Annette has many years of client-side experience in getting Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to work.

As is the case for Customer Insight leaders, most of the best learning comes from getting things wrong. So, here is another list of 10 pitfalls which Annette has discovered you need to avoid.

If you scored your current program out of 10 using our last list, why not expand your rating to consider all 20? That should provide you with a useful quick audit of potential blind-spots. Here comes Annette’s second and final list.

How to improve your VoC program (10 more)

Hi, again everyone & thanks to Paul for the opportunity. Continuing where we left of last time, here are 10 more mistakes to avoid.

Note that I haven’t prioritized or categorized these mistakes, but take a close look at each one to ensure you’re not committing any of them. If you recognize one, you’ve got to take corrective action immediately. If your listening program is failing, there are a tone of ideas here to consider to get it back on track.

OK, so let’s dive in on the next installment of VoC program mistakes.

11. Not sharing feedback with the organization

This one makes no sense. As part of the core program team, you don’t want to hold onto this data. What are you going to do with it? You’ve got to get out to the people who can use it!

You must share it out to the organization so that the respective departments can learn from it then act on it, do something with it. That action involves not only fixing what’s wrong but also coaching employees based on feedback about their (or their department’s) performance.

12. Not doing anything with it, failing to act

Don’t just survey for the sake of surveying, to check that box. What a waste of everyone’s time. As a follow-on to #11, once the feedback is analyzed, insights are gleaned, and those insights and recommended actions are shared with the organization, each department has a responsibility to take action.

If you’re not sure about who needs to do what with the feedback, check out this post on 5 Fails to Avoid with Your CX Program. You’ll see that one of the biggest problems addressed in this post is closing the loop – with employees and with customers.

13. Failing to view it as a continuous process

Your VoC program is all about continuous improvement. Just because you’ve gotten feedback from customers doesn’t mean you’re done listening. Your listening program must be always-on.

It must evolve to listen and ask in ways that customers want to provide feedback. And it must be updated to ensure you get feedback on improvements you’ve made as a result of previous feedback. Never stop listening.

One of my new favourite quotes at the moment is this one from Susan Scott: “The conversation is the relationship. If the conversation stops, so does the relationship.”

Keep the conversation going!

14. Not revisiting VoC programs over time 

I’ve written about this a couple of times, so I’ll let those posts speak for themselves, but just know that you need to do a refresh every so often.
20 Signs That It’s Time for a VoC Redesign
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Redesign Your VoC Program?

15. Not sending surveys at the right time

On that note, a critical thing to do is to send the surveys in a timely manner. The main issue here is not sending the surveys while the experience is still fresh in the minds of your customers. Don’t wait a week or a month to send a survey about an experience. Do it within 24 hours.

16. Not using an enterprise-wide feedback management platform

You thought you could go on the cheap with this whole customer listening thing and just use a free survey platform to listen to customers? Well, that’s likely going to set you up for failure in a lot of  different ways, including:

  • You won’t have alert, action management, and service recovery capabilities, which are all key tactical next steps in your VoC program.
  • You get to do all of the analysis by hand in Excel, which will not be efficient or effective because of those free platforms. 
  • Others in the organization won’t get to see the feedback and use it within their organizations, e.g., think departments, business units, geographic regions, etc.

17. Not including VoCe

Your VoC program must be broader than just surveying customers. There are other ways to capture feedback about and from your customers, e.g., social media, online reviews, interviews, CABs, etc.

One piece of feedback that is often overlooked is Voice of the Customer through the Employee (VoCe). Customers share feedback with your employees regularly. There must be a simple way for employees to log that feedback and share it with the folks who need to see it and use it.

18. Not appending customer data to survey responses

You already know a lot of things about your customers. When you upload your customer contact/upload list into your EFM/VoC platform (not the free one because they probably limit the number of fields in your file, and you can’t really do any great analysis in that platform, anyway), be sure to include things that you already know about the customer.

It shortens the survey because then you don’t have to ask about things you already know, and then it makes your analysis much more robust. (Note from Paul, just be sure to capture suitable permission to do this & think about GDPR if relevant)

19. Not personalizing the survey

When you include customer data in your customer contact/upload list, it not only affords shorter surveys but it also allows you to personalize the survey emails and the survey, with names, dates, products, etc.

If this information is in your customer data, you can also deliver the survey to the individual in their language of choice. By the way, not offering the survey in multiple languages, when applicable, is also a fail.

20. Creating surveys that are not about the customer

It seems a no-brainer to create surveys about the customer, but I’ve seen plenty of self-serving surveys that left me scratching my head, wondering how the questions would help improve the experience for me. Don’t be that company. 

And here’s a bonus mistake!

21. Forgetting that the survey is a touchpoint

This is definitely a major pain point with surveys. You must know by now that surveys are another touchpoint in the customer experience. The experience with the survey must be considered and improved as much as the experience with any other touchpoint. For some tips on that, check out these two posts:
Improving the Respondent Experience
How’s the Customer Experience of Your VoC Program? 

There are a lot of other mistakes that companies make with their VoC programs. Use this post and the first part of this series to ensure that you’re at least not making these 21 mistakes! And if I can help in any way, just let me know!

Time for one more quote

Thanks again to Annette for sharing those mistakes. To finish here is another great quote shared by Annette (she sure does collect them):

The customer’s perception is your reality. What they think about your products matters. If you don’t put your customer’s perception first, THE GAME IS OVER.” Sarfaraz Ahme